Air Conditioner

How Much Space Should I Leave Open Surrounding My Air Conditioner?

You probably don’t think too much about your air conditioner until it’s not working suddenly. Or until your energy bills are suddenly climbing, even though you haven’t moved the thermostat.

Your air conditioner draws in ambient air to cool and lets out warm air as it works. But it can quickly overheat if it can’t get enough surrounding air or flush out hot air.

An AC system that runs hot usually can’t last as long. And it probably will cost more to cool your Lake Forest home.

1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. can help when your air AC isn’t running properly. Or keeping your Lake Forest house cold enough.

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Space Guidelines for Air Conditioners

So how much space does your air conditioner really call for?

Here’s what we recommend:

  • 1-foot minimum on all sides, including the back. 
  • 1.5-foot minimum for the sides and an alcove or adjacent wall. 
  • 2 feet between the sides of the unit and tight shrubs or solid fences. 
  • 6 inches between the sides and leafy plants, with a few extra inches left for growth.
  • 8 feet between the top and obstructions, like a deck or roof overhang.

While doing yardwork, keep your unit out of contact with grass clippings and leaves. Yard debris can clog your air conditioner and cause it to overheat.

Related: How to Clean Your Air Conditioner

How to Check if Your Air Conditioner is Overheating

  1. Turn the air conditioner on.
  2. Check the temperature a few inches from the coil. This is the metallic grate that surrounds your unit.
  3. Measure the temperature 10 feet away.

If the temperatures are the same, your system is working properly.

If the temperature is higher near the coil, your system may have a problem. Call us at 949-204-0859 for help or schedule an appointment online.

Related: How to Keep Your Air Conditioner from Failing

How Much Space Does a Heat Pump Require?

If you live in a moderate climate, you may have a heat pump in place of an air conditioner. This outdoor unit gives both heat and air conditioning for your house.

It needs open space all year, especially if it snows. Remove snow that gathers on the top and near the sides of the unit.

If your heat pump fills with wintry precipitation, shut it off. Use warm water to melt snow and ice and give the water a little while to drain before putting your system back on.

Related: Heat Pumps Year-Round Comfort

Schedule Annual Maintenance with 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

Overdue for yearly air conditioner maintenance? Give us a call at 949-204-0859 today!

A routine AC tune-up means your air conditioner is likely more efficient—and less likely to overheat. And it also helps our skilled technicians to locate small issues before they become pricier problems.

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